Vale Logistics ex-staff case back to full trial

The Brazil headquartered Vale Logistics currently involved in a railway project in Malawi, made an out-of-court settlement on 20 August 2021 in a case its former employees dragged it to court over claims of unfair dismissal.

But the out-of-court settlement proposal no longer stands and the case returns to full trial after the Industrial Court (IRC) learnt on Thursday that Vale Logistics made no efforts to reach out to lawyers representing the ex-employees.

Presiding officer at the IRC, Innocent Nebi, who is the court’s deputy chairperson, ordered that the matter should return to full trial on October 27 2021 after the parties failed to furnish him with reports on any agreement entered.

Ralph Sauti, representing the victims

Lawyer Ralph Sauti, representing seven employees Vale Logistics allegedly dismissed unceremoniously, told the court that lawyers representing Vale did not make any efforts to engage him or his clients.

“I propose we proceed to full trial. I have my witnesses read. We expected them to reach out to us on the proposal they suggested to have this matter settled outside the court, but they did not,” Sauti complained as the ex-employees, present in the court, appeared disappointed.

Mabvuto Hara, lawyer representing Vale Logistics, chipped in quickly, and regretted what he called an oversight on their part to engage the other party. He said what was on the court record was that parties were appearing on this day to report back whatever was agreed, and not to proceed with the trial.

The presiding officer agreed with Hara that parties were supposed to report back, but said regardless of the out-of-court settlement proposal; the matter should come on October 27 this year for continued trial.

Two witnesses on the side of the ex-employees already testified in earlier court sessions.

The case started in 2015, and back then, Vale also proposed an out-of-court settlement but it also collapsed when the company offered to pay the ex-employees a three-month salary, which the ex-employees rejected.

The ex-employees accuse Vale of firing them with no proper grounds when they were on permanent employments.

Vale Logistics is fully involved in trans-Malawi railway project. The project connects two pivotal points of its operations in Western and Eastern Mozambique through Malawi.

Mota Engil Africa is the company constructing this railway line, which is part of the Nacala Development Corridor that is designed to benefit several SADC countries.

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